Insider guide: best seats in business on Virgin Australia's A330

By John Walton, August 25 2011
Insider guide: best seats in business on Virgin Australia's A330

Planning a flight between Sydney and Perth on Virgin Australia's flagship Airbus A330 "Coast to Coast" business class service between Sydeny and Perth, or cashing in some Velocity Rewards points?

We've got the insider's guide to picking the very best seats on the plane -- and the ones to give a miss.

The plane

Virgin Australia has two Airbus A330s in service for its domestic flights, with two more ordered fresh from the factory.

The first two are ex-Emirates planes, and have been flying between Sydney and Perth since late May, with the other two due to come factory-fresh from Airbus in Toulouse in 2012.  

The two Emirates planes have been refurbished inside, though the seats are structurally the same, with well-cushioned, comfortable recliner seats in Business Class.

The Business Class cabin

Business class is up at the pointy end of the plane, in a cabin with 27 reclining seats. Rows 2, 3 and 4 are in a 2-3-2 configuration, while Row 1 is in 2-2-2 because the cabin is narrower at the very front.

On the left hand side of the plane in rows 2-4, you'll find seats A & B, then an aisle, then seats D, E & F, then another aisle, then seats J & K. There's no middle seat in row 1, so the seating goes AB - EF - JK.

The seats themselves have "60+" inches of pitch according to Virgin Australia. (Pitch is the space you can call your own between your seatback and the seatback in front.)

There's a few inches more room in the middle section than in the seat pairs at the sides of the cabin, but the legroom is excellent in every seat.

They're recliner-style seats, as opposed to Qantas' angled Skybeds, which the Red Roo is putting up in competition with Virgin Australia's flights --  take a look at Qantas' offering.

The table folds up from the armrest, while the screens are in the seatback (or wall) in front of you.

The best seats on the plane

1A 1K 1E 1F: as bulkhead seats at the front of the cabin, there's nobody reclining backward into your space, which makes it easier to nip out from the window seats to stretch your legs. Avoid the aisle seats 1B and 1J next to the window seats, though -- the aisle narrows and changes direction slightly since the cabin is narrowing, so you're more likely to be jostled or bumped into by trolleys, passengers and crew.

2A 2B 2J 2K: these seat pairs next to the window in the middle of the cabin are the quietest, given the galleys and lavatories are at the front and rear of the cabin. 

The worst seats on the plane

2E 3E 4E: in the middle of the centre row, these have all the downsides of needing to clamber over someone in the aisle but none of the benefits of a window. On the plus side, there is a little more space between rows in the centre section of three seats. Avoid 2E if you fancy the in-flight entertainment -- it has a smaller screen that flips up from the armrest rather than 

2D 2F: these seats are right where the cabin starts to be widest, which means that people and trolleys will need to change direction. That's a recipe for being bumped into if your feet are fully extended. You'll also have an unusual angle for the entertainment screen, since the row in front has two seats and row 2 has three.

4B 4D 4F 4J: aisle seats near the back of the cabin, these are a little noisier and subject to disturbance from passengers and crew heading for the lavatories and galley kitchen to the rear. The rear business class lavatory is to the right hand of the plane, behind 4F and 4J, while an economy loo is behind 4B and 4D.  


John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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